Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Welcome back for our second day with Carol Cox, author of almost 30 novels and novellas. She’s sharing a copy of her latest release, Love in Disguise, with one of our visitors this week.
Remember: To be eligible for the drawing on Friday, July 27 at 8 a.m. Eastern, you must leave a comment with your email address and an answer to the following question from Carol:
If you had the opportunity to create a whole new identity for yourself—either a historical figure who inspires you, or a brand-new character of your own making—who would you choose to be?
Carol, you’ve said that you sometimes enjoy dressing up like one of your characters for special events. What kinds of things have you learned from those experiences?
I love being able to spend a day dressed in 1880s garb, feeling my skirts swish as I walk around and imagining I’m living the life of a character from one of my books. At the same time, it’s always a relief to come home and revert back to my everyday clothing. Those 19th-century women may have been portrayed as delicate flowers, but it took a good amount of stamina to function while wearing all those constricting layers!
You’ve been part of the publishing world for a number of years now. What’s your top advice for an author preparing for her debut novel?
I have two bits of advice for an author whose first book is about to come out: savor the moment and take reviews with a grain of salt. When that debut novel releases . . . celebrate! You’ve achieved a major milestone. Take time to enjoy the experience to its fullest!
As for reviews—a number of my author friends refuse to read them at all, not wanting to develop an over-inflated ego from glowing reviews or be devastated by the negative ones. If you choose to read what others have said about your book, remember that each review is one person’s opinion. If a particular strength or weakness is mentioned over and over, that may be something worth noting, but as Christian authors, the most important thing to remember is who we’re writing for. His opinion is the one that truly counts. Writers tend to be an insecure lot, so don’t fall into the trap of second-guessing yourself. Keep writing the stories God has laid on your heart, do it to the best of your ability, and leave the results to Him.
What do you enjoy most about reading and writing historical fiction?
As the writer of Ecclesiastes tells us, there is nothing new under the sun. Cultures and conventions may vary according to time and place, but throughout the ages, human nature hasn’t changed. For me, one of the most enjoyable aspects of historical fiction is being able to step back and look at issues we face today through the filter of time in order to see them from a different perspective.
Historical fiction requires a lot of research. What’s the most interesting (or unusual, or funny) thing you’ve done in the name of research for a book?
How about the research trip I made to Tombstone—during the winter, when Love in Disguise takes place? Instead of enjoying the warm, sunny climate southern Arizona is famous for, I wound up tramping around outdoors in the coldest temperatures they’d experienced since 1889. By the time I got the information I needed and was ready to head back to the hotel, I was seriously checking my fingers for signs of frostbite. My daughter still laughs about me running over to hug the wall heater when we got back to our room.
What would you like readers to gain from reading your books?
In Love in Disguise, Ellie feels much more confident in her assumed roles as Lavinia and Jessie than she does when she’s being herself. Many of us feel the same way—that we’re less acceptable when showing our true face to the world—and so we act in ways we think will make us more appealing to others. I hope my readers come away with a deeper sense of their true identity in Christ and the knowledge that their worth isn’t based on external appearances, but on what lies within.
Any final words?
Thank you for a great interview! I’ve enjoyed my visit here immensely. It’s always a joy to connect with other lovers of historical fiction, and I’d love it if your readers would stop by my website and sign up for my newsletter or leave a note on my Facebook page so we can stay in touch!